Sure-fire energy boosters


  • Health
  • Sunday, 12 Jan 2003

By JUDI SHEPPARD MISSETT

HAVE you made it through December only to collapse after New Year’s Day? The hustle and bustle of the holidays can certainly zap your energy, but you can recapture your vigour before January has passed with an easy three-pronged plan.  

Eating for energy 

Trade in your three meals a day for six mini-meals. You’ll keep your hunger in check and your blood sugar steady by munching on several nutritious 300-350-calorie meals per day. Make sure you’re getting enough whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.  

When you eat carbohydrates, pair them with a little protein and fat. Carbohydrates are our main energy source and should make up about two-thirds of a meal, but protein and fat will help you to digest them more slowly and avoid any rapid increases or decreases in blood sugar.  

Stay hydrated. I simply can’t say this enough. Drink water all day, every day. Mild dehydration causes fatigue. Most individuals drink only two cups of water a day, when our bodies require an average of eight cups a day.  

Take a multivitamin that contains magnesium, iron and B vitamins, which help your body to use energy.  

Limit your caffeine intake. A cup of coffee every morning can help jump-start your day, but overindulge and you risk an energy drain. Caffeine stimulates your adrenal glands to release stress hormones, but they can run out of “juice” if tapped into too often.  

Revive with rest and relaxation 

Deep breathing releases tension and provides a steady stream of fresh oxygen to your entire body. Concentrate on breathing from your diaphragm (often referred to as belly breathing) rather than from your upper chest. Breathe in deeply to a count of four; then exhale slowly to a count of eight. Do this whenever you need an energy boost.  

Make sure you get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. You can increase your chances of a good night’s sleep by going to bed and getting up at approximately the same time every day.  

Try to do something fun every day. Everyone needs mental and physical breaks to recharge. Play with your children, read a good book, dance to your favourite CD, or surprise your spouse with an impromptu movie date.  

Get active and get outdoors 

Contrary to popular belief, exercise begets energy. Aerobic exercise pumps oxygen through your body, releases endorphins and enhances sleep. Likewise, strength training can help make daily tasks less draining. Try to get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day. A brisk walk is a great start.  

Get a daily dose of sunshine, too. Sunlight can boost your levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin and vitamin D.  

Even a quick five- or 10-minute mini-workout is beneficial and certainly better than nothing at all. The following squat-jump can be a quick workout in and of itself, or you can add it to your regular cardiovascular routine.  

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and your knees and toes pointing forward. Keeping your chest lifted and your weight placed in your heels. Bend your knees and lower your hips toward the floor. Push down into the floor as you swing your arms overhead and jump upward. Rest briefly and repeat four or five times. --LAT-WP  

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